Every impression matters when opening your home, as you’ll never know which prospective guest might be your buyer.
Inspections are like a first date. You only get one chance to make that first impression So if you want to prepare for an open house inspection, there are a few things you can do ahead of the big day.
Follow this simple checklist with these simple tips to ensure that you are looking at your home in the best condition to prepare your property for a successful inspection.
1. Ensure your place is clean and tidy
You will be amazed at how good your home looks after a thorough cleaning, but you’ll be amazed. When the buyer arrives, including the garden and outdoor areas, make sure the entire property is clean and tidy. Cleaning, scrubbing, washing, polishing-all these chores make a living area feel like a home.
Don’t forget to clean the inside of the oven, cupboard and wardrobe in case potential buyers are particularly interested. Take off your shoes from the entrance and other dangers of tripping. Clean up in advance to keep your home in good condition while it’s on the market. That way, you’ll only need a review to prepare for a new test schedule, not a thorough overhaul. Clean up the mailbox and empty the bin. Ideally, make the bin invisible (especially if it’s usually one of the first things people see in your home). If you need help, contact a professional organiser or tidier and ask a friend for a second opinion on the quality of your work.
2. Let in some light and air
Air out your home thoroughly before the inspection, so it feels as fresh and clean as possible. If potential buyers feel stuffy, they’ll head straight for the door.
If the weather and security permits, crack open a window or two during the inspections themselves, too, so that there’s a steady flow of fresh air.
Draw back curtains and blinds to bring in as much as light as possible and show off your house from the street.
3. Remove your pets from your property
One of the most common complaints from potential buyers at open for inspections are those telltale signs you share your home with someone furry. If they’re not your pets, animal smells or stains can actively turn someone off your property.
Deodorise your property to remove the whiff of little creatures and get someone who doesn’t normally live there to confirm you’re clear (you might be used to it and unable to smell what others can).
Clean traces of hair from floors and furniture, stow feeding bowls and toys, remove any litter boxes or droppings from the yard, and give your pets a vacation during inspections.
4. Add a few personal touches
A personal touch here and there helps your home feel less staged, and will often help prospective buyers to forge an emotional connection with your property.
Fresh flowers are a nice addition, for example, as are inoffensive pieces of art and bowls of sweets near the door that people can dip into on their way out. Bear in mind, though, that too much evidence of your life in the home can often overwhelm buyers and make it hard for them to emotionally connect with the property. It’s about striking a balance between presenting a warm, homely environment and allowing enough mental space for a prospective buyer to imagine themselves living in your home – and often this means stowing away personal photographs.
5. Eliminate nasty odours
People fuss over the visual but often forget that a bad smell can make or break an open inspection.
Remove smells that are unpleasant, like stinky shoes, and watch out for specific foods that may not agree with everyone.
Counter the off-putting smells with flowers, candles, air fresheners or even freshly brewed coffee, but make sure that you don’t go overboard, and avoid pungent aromas like incense. You want your property to smell like a home, not a perfumery.
A home-staging consultant can help with these touches, and can also advise about furniture, artwork and other style elements that will help bring your home to life.
6. Set the right temperature
Keep an eye on the weather and heat or cool your home so that it’s at an optimal temperature for buyers to walk through.
People shoudn’t raise a sweat or chill, and you need to demonstrate your property can effortlessly cope with the climate around it. You should be aiming to give them a cool or warm blast, depending on what’s most appropriate at that time.
If heating or cooling is malfunctioning and impossible to fix for inspection time, place fans or portable heaters strategically so they don’t get in the way but still do the job.
7. Make yourself scarce
While your house is getting the once over, you should leave potential buyers to wander your halls unencumbered and relaxed.
Coordinate with your agent and be ready to head out for a short time, taking any other family members or inhabitants with you (including the pets). And have a bag ready so that you can leave quickly in the event of an unplanned inspections.
Don’t forget to do a quick pass through on the way out, clearing away any new messes or misplaced objects, like toys.
If you don’t want to leave entirely, consider setting up an area in the house or yard that can act as your retreat while buyers explore. This way, you’ll be around for a chat if people want to ask about the home or the area, but not so close people feel they can’t browse in peace.